Thursday, 7 April 2011

Viewing server log files

I think viewing server logs has always been more difficult than it should have been for me.

For example, when I'm developing and debugging applications deployed to the dev and test servers, if you want to see the various log files involved it requires:
  • Logging in to the server (if you have an account)

  • Finding the log files (if you remember where they are and have permissions to read them)

  • Tailing in a console
Some places its not trivial to get accounts and permissions - but anyway, the point is it takes more time than its worth to find that log file and see whats going on.

To make it easier, I created vsConsole - a java (grails) based web application that polls agents on the servers - so with a couple of clicks you can be tailing your favourite log file on your dev/test server.

It works well for our testers that I work with on my day job - it saves them the hassle of ssh and unix accounts and permissions. The convenience of a browser based application is in their opinion worthwhile and they get real value from it.

Select a file and when the page loads, you can toggle tailing by clicking the "Start/Stop tailing" button - and you'll see updates file gets appended to.

For more information, see
You can download it and try for yourself - it works best with Tomcat and Chrome.

I'd appreciate feedback - I'm considering building version 2 with a desktop like UI and other features if there is any interest.